The do’s and don’ts of hiring a professional painter

If you must pay in advance, Turner says 10% of the cost is reasonable.

Tips on getting a good paint job

By Kathy Feist

Few homeowners take on the challenge of painting the exterior of their homes anymore. They must find a painting company through word of mouth or luck of a Google search. Either way, it’s not until the paint job is done that you know whether you’ve hired a good painter or bad one. 

Kevin Turner has painted home exteriors for 40 years. He is an accredited painting contractor with the Painting and Decorating Contractors of America and won a national award from the organization in 2014. He shares what to look for when hiring a painter. 


Turner warns homeowners to avoid paying in advance. “Not paying a deposit upfront ensures that the work will get done before they get paid. Otherwise they might come and go whenever they want to,” he says. “They won’t have to earn their money.” 

If you must pay in advance, Turner says 10% of the cost is reasonable to materials needed to get the job started. 

Disappearing owner

Who you hire should be the one who does the work.  Beware of the national brands that employ a salesman who bids your job then subcontracts it to someone else.

 Uniformity of finish

Before you pay, look for uniformity of finish. “The paint job shouldn’t look shiny in one area and flat in another,” he says. 

Spray Paint

Because spray painters paint without touching the exterior, the spray may not always be thick enough to hide flaws, unlike with a brush or roller. 

Wood Rot

A good painter will take care of the surface below the paint, says Turner. They should remove wood rot by either replacing a whole board or patching the area. 

Straight lines

Make sure the lines are straight and no paint is left on the trim. 


A good painter will put primer on bare wood before he paints it. Turner believes the combined primer/paint being marketed today is “just a gimmick”  and should not be used in place of primer.

Finally, a contractor is someone you must trust in or at your home for an extended period of time. Do your due diligence.


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